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    15 Things People Don't Tell You About Extreme Weight Loss

    It has its pros and cons, like anything else.

    Arielle Calderon / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

    Hi, I'm Arielle! In May 2015, I embarked on a lifestyle change and have completely overhauled my eating habits, fitness goals, and outlook on life.

    I have yo-yo dieted all my life, and I never imagined being genuinely happy with how I felt inside my body.

    But that's where I'm at right now — 15 months and 110 pounds down after starting my weight loss journey. Here are some things that surprised me along the way:

    1. Just because I've reached most of my goals, it doesn't mean I no longer need some of the structures that got me here in the first place.

    2. But I also have to remind myself that because it is a full-on lifestyle change, it’s not a rush, and I have to be patient and kind to my body.

    3. This weight loss journey has become a part of my identity, and sometimes I don't know how to feel about it.

    4. My relationships with friends and family have changed; some have grown stronger, and some have become more distant.

    Arielle Calderon

    When you embark on a big lifestyle change like this, you aren’t just adjusting your eating habits and physical activity. Your interests, hobbies, and thought processes change, too. Even my relationships have changed.

    For instance, I have an aunt who is also doing Weight Watchers, and instead of just seeing each other once a year at Thanksgiving, we now text regularly and have a stronger bond. One of my friends from college is now probably my closest friend, because we share more interests and can confide in each other about struggles and wins with weight loss. Some friendships have grown apart, because our relationships were so heavily fueled by social drinking and eating. I think the hardest part about this lifestyle change is that I never anticipated my friendships would shift.

    5. In terms of dating, a deep panic sets in when the subject of my weight loss comes up.

    6. When I'm out to eat with friends or people familiar with my story, I'm afraid they're diligently watching what I'm eating and making silent judgments.

    7. Some days I am still scared that I will spiral out of control and gain everything back.

    8. I'm no longer afraid of "taking up space," and I realize that I never should have been.

    9. Non-scale victories have become the most important measures of my success.

    10. I actually crave fresh produce and whole foods.

    11. While documenting my journey has made me extremely vulnerable, it also keeps me motivated.

    12. Inspiring and cheering on others has been the most rewarding part of this process.

    Arielle Calderon

    Reading the emails people send me, seeing the before and after pictures people tag me in, and reading the comments about how my personal experience has helped them start theirs, is a reward I would never trade.

    For the first time in my life, it feels like I am doing something meaningful. I am not saying I am some diet and fitness expert (seriously, I'm not, and you should always consult your doctor and dietician!), but seeing the impact I've made on someone's life, however big or small it is, is the best thing about my entire lifestyle change.

    13. But because of that, strangers tend to constantly ask me the same very personal questions.

    Arielle Calderon

    "Do you have loose skin?"

    "What was your starting weight and how much do you currently weigh?"

    "What size are you now? What size did you start with?"

    I understand that people are curious, or that they might be seeking answers to their own issues and fears. But there are some things I don't want to publicly share. I wish people would remember that while I am pretty open, I need a bit of privacy. 😁

    14. Constantly buying new clothes is expensive...and worth it.

    15. I have finally learned to truly love myself, and that is something extraordinary.

    View this video on YouTube

    I always assumed that loving yourself was tied to a number: whether it was the number on the scale or the number on your clothing tag. But self-love and self-worth, for me, is about appreciating the person I've become.

    A year and a half ago, I would have dreaded hiking despite the amazing view at the top of the trail. A year and a half ago, I wouldn't have dared sign up for a half-marathon because it would have been "impossible." A year and a half ago, I would have spent my summer on the couch instead of enjoying the New York sunset at an outdoor bar. A year and a half ago, I wouldn't have gone parasailing in fear that I weighed "too much."

    I have completely changed as a person. I am curious, adventurous, more daring, stronger, nicer, more energetic, and best of all, genuinely confident in who I am. I was always meant to be in this skin, but the person inside was always meant to blossom into something more — and I am finally there.

    If you'd like to keep up with my weight loss journey, you can follow me on Instagram!